Shays’ Rebellion

GabeGovernment(ML), Mini Lessons

Common Sense Government eBook: The Articles of Confederation, Shays’ Rebellion, and the Call for a Constitutional Convention

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Shays’ Rebellion was a localized event in Massachusetts, but the shock waves created by it reverberated throughout the states. The more insightful Americans at the time realized, quite quickly, that the events that played out in Shays’ Rebellion could, and likely would, reoccur over time. They also realized that when that happened, it would be much, much worse. Once again, George Washington sounded the alarm. In a letter to Henry Knox, written on December 26, 1786, he stressed that “There are combustibles in every State, which a spark might set fire to.”

Something had to be done. And finally, other people were taking notice, too.

  1. What issues from the Revolutionary War caused unrest in Massachusetts? Consider both carryover from how the war was fought, and the structure created after the war.
  2. Shays’ Rebellion is referred to as a flash point and predictor of future conflict. What were leaders like George Washington and Samuel Adams worried about?

This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense Government eBook.  Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for use by students and teachers.  Click here to download the Common Sense Government materials.

Image Citation:

22, Jan. 2018 Memorial of Shays’ Rebellion [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <>